Beyond Youth Custody


Housing and mental health are Daniel’s main issues and he finds it difficult to regulate his emotions. He attends the resettlement project almost every day, and trusts only one worker there. This is an edited account of his experience of release.

If you get 12 months or less, then it’s not really a difference when you come out. When I got my 18 months, that’s the only time it felt different, all the other times it just felt normal. When I did 18 months, when I came out after that one, it wasn’t real, you know?

What they would do, if I was getting out today, they would have woken me up about seven o’clock, so you could get ready, then they’d take you off the wing about half-eight, they take you to a waiting room.

The only thing I took out was my letters; that was it, I left everything else. Normally though, if you’ve got loads of stuff, they give you like a black bag, but you can tell it’s a jail bag. I had just a bag with my letters in. I don’t really want anything to remind me of jail, so I didn’t want to bring stuff out. Even the clothes I came out in that day, I got changed and threw them in the bin.

Everyone gets money when they come out, it’s like, £45. It depends on your licence where you go. A hostel or somewhere, and they give you directions and that. Like two weeks, a week before you go out, they come and go through it with you. You have to go where you’re living.

You just go home. When you’re inside, everyone’s like, ‘Yeah as soon as I get out, I’m gonna get drunk’, ‘I’m gonna do this’, whatever. But when you actually get out, you realise you have freedom, so you don’t want to do any of that. Like on the first day, you just go home. You don’t really realise when you’re in there. That’s all it is, freedom.

I stayed [with a family member]. After a bit, she kicked me out. I went to live with [someone else] and then he kicked me out. Now I’m sleeping on someone’s sofa… I’ve got a roof over my head; it’s not my roof though. I need to get a flat, a place of my own. That’s the only thing that’s annoying me. I know I’m not going to get a place [soon]. They say I’m being negative, but I’m sat here.

I get £110 a fortnight, plus I have to pay rent out of that. I always owe my money out by the time I get it anyway. Frustrating? Frustrating’s not the word. They say they’ll put me in a flat, but then they say I’m back in a hostel, I’m going round in circles. I don’t even know how I’ve not been arrested. I get angry. I’m not trying to, but I don’t know how I’ve not been arrested when I’ve been in the housing.

I don’t miss anything about jail, but I’d rather be in there than out here. Nothing’s better in there. Maybe you don’t have worries, I don’t know, I can’t really tell you. But if you came down and said, ‘Here’s a bus here for [the prison]’, I’d jump on it.

Since I’ve been out of jail the only thing I’ve had is [the resettlement project]. That’s it. Well, they say I’m moving on, but I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere. I’m still homeless. Still got financial problems.

Tagged with the theme:

Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes